This is our blog about the adventures and experiences of two Snyder kids as they serve missions, one in Mexico and one in Japan, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These are the weekly emails and pictures they send home.

Monday, February 23, 2015

New Companion!

Familia! Como están?! 

I am great! Living the missionary life and loving every minute! 

I have a new companion - Hermana S. from Colombia! She is just as she appears, tiny and cute! But there's a lot of personality packed into her little body. Haha. She is great. The crazy thing is that she was Hna. A.'s trainer! What? 80-something Sisters in the mission and how in the world did that happen? Super funny but it just gives me more motivation to find out what exactly it is that I need to learn from this companionship. It's very weird not to have Hna. Z.... She is one of the best missionaries in the world (and she's a Sister Training Leader now) and things are just a little different now. But I feel like I am really going to come into my own in this companionship. 

We have already had a lot of success together - we have 2 new people with baptismal dates that both have 2 Sundays in the chapel and are 100% going to get baptized! J. and G. - both gems... You will hear more about them in the future. But for right now, I want to talk about V. V is an investigator I don't think I have talked about much, but is seriously a gem. He has gone to church 3 times and his baptismal date is March 7. One night, we were walking in the street and saw 4 adults sitting on the sidewalk, visiting and listening to music. We decided to contact them, so we wrote down their names and addresses and really didn't think too much of it. If I am being honest, I didn't think would ever follow up with any of them. One day in the next week, we decided to go discover a new colony that we had never been to. We didn't knock any doors... except for one - V's. But, the thing is, we didn't know it was his house! Imagine our surprise when he told us that we met the week before and everything clicked in our minds! "I have your name in my agenda, V.!" I said. "But we didn't know this was your house!" What a miracle. Turns out V. is completely ready for the gospel in his life. He is the dream investigator. He is the type that when you say, "We don't drink coffee," he says, "Really?! ..... Okay!" and then doesn't drink coffee. When we taught him the law of chastity, he cried because of the guilt he felt from past transgressions. Sweet little V. is trying his hardest to be the best he can be. I am so excited for the changes he is experiencing in his life! Prayers for V., please. He deserves them.

Something interesting happened this week. On Thursday, everyone that we talked to rejected us. Everyone. We talked with 15 people on the street and didn't get one reference. We taught lessons and they were unsuccessful. Then in the night, we went to follow-up on a family to whom we had a given a prayer earlier that week. The prayer was so great - the Spirit was there and I said things in the prayer that I had no idea were true and actually happening in their lives. It was pretty great and we were thinking they were a golden family. When we went to teach them the first lesson, they had some family visiting. We began to teach and...... well it ended pretty ugly. Their visitors totally reamed us out, yelling and saying that they only believe in God and Jesus Christ (funny, because so do we) and that there was never going to be any book other than the Bible, blah blah blah. Long story short, as soon as we left the house, I couldn't hold it in any more! I started crying... everything about the day seemed like a failure. I returned to the house pretty discouraged. As I was preparing for bed, I remembered that the zone leaders had sent us a message with a scripture that morning that I had forgotten to read. So, I decided to look it up, Moroni 9:6 - 
And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

It was really a testament to me that Heavenly Father is aware of me, little old missionary in Huauchinango, Puebla, Mexico. In my moment of trial and discouragement, He sent His Spirit to help me remember that message. And, how inspired are the zone leaders? I am so grateful for the organization of God's church - everyone is taken care of. 

I am so greatful to be a missionary. Even though sometimes it's the hardest thing ever (you're dealing with people's salvation here...) it's also the most incredible. I am happy! 

Thanks for everything, family. The church is so true. 

Hna. Snyder

My new companion!

 Beautiful Huauchinango!

Me and my cactus:

Monday, February 16, 2015

"I am so happy!"

Happy P-day! Before I start in on anything, I have an update on Mexican culture. Once a year (I don't know if this is all Mexico or just here in Puebla), the have Carnival. It's pretty crazy. Everyone rents out these costumes that are all different colors - long, heavy skirts, button-down shirt, a cowboy hat, and masks. They'd be okay if it wasn't for the mask, which covers all of their face and has fringes on the bottom like a beard. They gather in the streets with their little music bands and dance and whip these long ropes super loud. And later (I haven't seen this yet), apparently they all gather in a circle, dancing, WHILE THEY DE-HEAD LIVE CHICKENS. It scares me a little bit. But that's Mexico for ya. Gotta love it. I'll send you some pictures next week if I can snap some without blatantly looking like a tourist.


It's been the best week to be a missionary!!! Two baptisms this week! On Thursday we baptized A., the daughter of two pastors... EN EL RIO. It was the most amazing baptism I have ever seen! It was on Thursday, which was absolutely beautiful here in Huauchi. When we got to the chapel, the font wasn't full so we decided to head on down to the river. One of the members who just happened to come to the baptism has a teeny tiny little pickup truck and we had like 10 people piled in the back descending a huge mountain to get to the river. It was hilariously, scarily fantastic. A. was 125% willing to do it in the river - she didn't care where as long as she would be baptized that day. Even thought the water was super cold, she hopped right on in. Afterwards, she bore her testimony. I sang "Donde halla el solaz" a capella. It was the best baptism of this dispensation, except Joseph Smith. Maybe.

And then yesterday we baptized P., the 19-year-old mom of 2! She is so young but has so many responsiblities. She has her daughters, her husband, her internet shop, and is just trying to do her best. We have been teaching her since my first week in the field, and so yesterday was so special. Many members came to support her in her decision to be baptized, and E., a recent convert, performed the ordinance! Hna. Z and I sang "Asombro me da" and everything was so perfect. She was so happy. 


Today is the last day of my training, what?! And tomorrow, I am going to have a new companion. Yep, Hermana Z. is getting shipped out. I definitely have mixed feelings about that - the fact that I am going to be directing the area and that my "mamà" isn't going to be here by my side. I'm a little nervous, but excited for new experiences. As I finish up my 12 weeks of training, I think about all of the many things I have learned in the past 3 months. I can't put into words everything that I have experienced and all I have learned. I am so grateful to have had Hna. Z. as my trainer; she is incredible. She is truly a consecrated missionary. Together, we are like (in the words of Hna. Z) "fuego". I have learned how to teach by the Spirit, but more, I have learned to live by the Spirit. Yesterday, I was preparing for the day, doing the mundane things, but I was just so happy! I thought, "I can feel the Spirit right now." And it's true. I am so grateful to have learned to recognize and teach by and help others recognize the Spirit so early in my mission.

That's about it for the week! Next week it should be interesting to see how things are going with the new comp, but I know that everything done here in the mission by Presidente is the will of God. Love you all so much! Have the best week ever!

The best baptism in the world and the best members in the world!!

The cute little countdown banner we made for P. for the days leading up to her baptism.

Beautiful little family!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Character of Christ

Hoooooooola! Another week already? How crazy. It's been another great week in Huauchinango! It's always crazy that no matter how good or bad your week seems, it all comes down to how many people you have at church. When we have only a few, the week feels like a bit of a failure and I feel sad; when we have many people at church, I feel super ecstatic and like all of the efforts from the week paid off. With that in mind, we had 8 at church yesterday I am super happy! 8 more people who are progressing towards a baptism! How can you not be happy? I told Hna. Z. this week that I feel like I am in a Book of Mormon story because our experiences over the past few weeks have been so crazy and literal demonstrations of how: 1. Satan wants to stop us from having success 2. Blessings (many blessings!) come after the trial of our faith 3. We grow stronger from our tribulations

I am glad to say that we are in the back half of the story now and are seeing so many blessings! We have 3 baptisms scheduled for this week and more to come! No, we didn't end up having the baptism this week because Pao doesn't have enough Sundays at church, but she is going to have her baptism after church on Sunday - how beautiful it will be! 

Our baptisms for this week are going to be: Pao (the 19-year-old mom of 2 who we have been teaching since my first week in Mexico), Abi (the daughter of 2 pastors who has read almost all of the Book of Mormon and has a rock-solid testimony), and D. (the 12-year-old who has gone to church every week since the first time we met her). I AM SO DANG HAPPY!!!

Yesterday, a miracle happened. After church, almost all of our plans fell through because no one was home. After walking and walking, we decided to walk some more to look for a house in a place that we didn't really know that we had put as the backup plan the night. After asking around, we found the house - our potential investigator wasn't there, but her mother-in-law was. Long story short, turns out the mother-in-law is an inactive member of 10 years!!! She had been feeling forgotten and alone until we showed up yesterday. She is more than willing and wants to go back to church where everyone is so kind and she feels different in the best way. It surely is God's will that she return to the church after years of feeling lost. What a miracle! It is so easy to feel God's love for His children when things like this happen.

So it's been a good week! In a week I will be finishing up my training - crazy. I might just be feeling nostalgic, but it is crazy to think of how much I have grown and changed and all the things I have learned in this short time I've been in the mission. I can't tell you exactly how I feel and what I have learned, but I will just say that I feel so much closer to and am trying to be more like the Savior every day. Being a missionary is the best.

With that in mind, I want to share some things that I have been learning recently that are changing my life. Most of what I am learning comes from "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar and "The Fourth Missionary" by Lawrence E. Corbridge (EVERY FUTURE OR PRESENT MISSIONARY NEEDS THIS TALK!!!). What I have learned is that without the character of Jesus Christ, there would have been no Atonement. So what is the character of Christ? One very important aspect of His character is that in every moment of tempation, pain, or suffering, He always - without a moment of hestitation - reached out to someone else. In the very moments that He needed comfort, He comforted someone else. His very nature was such that when the people around Him needed something, the compassion within Him was "activated" (in the words of Elder Bednar) and He acted immediately. He truly conquered His human body and became completely God-like. 

So how does that apply to us?

Just as Jesus Christ is our example in everything, He is our example in His very character. Our purpose in this life is to become more like Him, and that implies completely dominating our natural desires. But it does not imply fighting every day against our natural man. No, because our purpose in life is to change. We must change our nature by developing a pattern of acting outside of ourselves at all times and in all situations. Eventually, and only possible through a lot of practice and the enabling power of the Atonement, our character will be more like that of Christ - when someone around us needs help, our compassion is triggered, no matter our personal circumstance. 

So that is my goal! I am working on changing myself, my very nature. It's only possible if you give your heart to the Lord - all of your thoughts, desires, and dreams. But it's possible! And really it's the only way that you will become even a fraction of the person Heavenly Father has given you potential to be. READ THESE TALKS! They say everything way better than me. But more than read them, apply them. A talk is only a talk unless you actually make changes according to the words. At least that's what I am trying to do. :)

Anyway, I just love you so much! I feel like I am starting to understand the potential Heavenly Father has for each of His children, and I just know that our family has the heavenly potential to do so much. I LOVE YOU!!!!

Hermana Snyder

A beautiful Sabbath day:

Playing for the Ward Choir - you might as week call us the Mexican Tabernacle Choir!

I play the piano almost every Sunday - the Mexicans think I am Mozart!

And this is REAL pico de gallo:

There are these weird vegatable things that grow on trees here that apparently you eat with eggs. We decided to borrow this lady's picking-pole and give 'er a go! We're going to eat our harvest tomorrow for breakfast... I'll tell you how it is!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Great week!

It has been a great week here in beautiful Huauchinango! After the experience last week, I feel like I am living in a Book of Mormon story. This week has truly been a testament of how after adversity, we must learn, grow, and reap the blessings! We had 7 people at church yesterday! Score! Really, our numbers are soaring. Take that, Satan! 

Yesterday was a really beautiful day at church. I never used to like fasting before the mission, but it is actually something that I have really come to enjoy. I am more prone to feel the Spirit and the effects of a true fast keep going for much longer than the actual 24 hours without food. Yesterday, I could feel the Spirit very strongly at church, especially when one of our investigators got up to bear her testimony! When Abi bore her testimony it was one of the most beautiful moments of my mission. Both of her parents are pastors of another church and she has faced a lot of persecution especially from her dad, but she is valiant and strong. She is truly converted to this gospel and has a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the Savior Jesus Christ. She is waiting with great anticipation the day of her baptism on the 14th. She is going to be a great leader in the church (I have received clear spiritual promptings of it)! She is 20 years old and has a lifetime of discipleship ahead of her.To have been able to witness this conversion has changed my life. 

Also at church was a new investigator, Maria. We found her on the street one day, sang a hymn, and she promised to go to church. Later in the week, we taught the Resoration, and on Sunday, she came to church with her cute little skirt looking beautiful as ever! She is a mom of 6, a grandmother of many, and she is ready for the gospel. I know she is going to be baptized.

Other people to pray for: Paola (baptism this Saturday!!!), Karen and Damaris, Victor, Juan, Yuli, the parents of Pamela and Lupita... and more to come in the future. :)

As for our companionship, I am so happy to be with Hna. Z. I feel like our relationship as a companionship has taken on a new level recently. I love her with all of my heart and think that she is probably one of the best missionaries on the planet, not joking even a little bit. Together, I feel like we are unstoppable. We have the same vision and the same faith that literally anything is possible. We know that we cannot have any success without the Spirit, and so we teach by his power every lesson. I feel so blessed to have had her as my trainer - President is truly inspired! I have learned so many things with her and am so glad that I am learning them now rather than having to wait longer in my mission.

That's about it for this week! It has been really great. We are working hard and I am loving being a missionary. Help the missionaries!!! Go with them to their lessons! Give them references! Help them keep all of the mission rules! You all are my favorite people on the planet. Love you so much!

Hna. S

Kelly, thank you for the package!!!

I got a bunch of letters and a package from Denise, Vannie, Kelly, and Megan King! YOU ARE THE BESTTTTT!


The District:

They say that there are only 2 of these trees in the world... Huauchinango is so exotic haha!


Rainy Huauchi:

 Battle wound - don't worry, I am still alive!

Tamales are one of my favorite foods ever!

I stick out like a sore thumb here in Mexico!

Sometimes we pack 7 people into a taxi. It's fun!